Hampton VA Medical Center
65th Annual Volunteer Awards
Roaring 20s “flappers” wrapped in red boas and “gangsters” sporting stripes and snazzy hats, streamed into the Hampton Convention Center Monday as the Hampton VA Medical Center volunteers embraced the theme of this year’s 65th annual volunteer awards and recognition ceremony.
Before the “speak easy” ballroom doors opened for the luncheon, volunteers tried their luck by playing slots with plastic coins and attempting to beat the odds at the black jack table with play money. Once inside, the sounds of the Peninsula Retired Men’s Band big band tunes greeted attendees as they made their way to their seats.
“A life of service isn't always easy ~ it involves sacrifices,” said DeAnne Seekins, director of the Hampton VAMC, as she addressed more than 280 dedicated volunteers at the event. “I realized a long time ago that volunteering is the way each of you shows your love, your respect and your allegiance to our Veterans and our country.”
In Fiscal Year 2010, Hampton VAMC volunteers donated 60,748 hours to make a difference. At $21.36 per hour, they generated $1.3 million of caring for Veterans. Seekins recognized that volunteer services organizations pack the calendar with amazing events to include the Patient Country Fair, bingo and cookouts ~ and that they give selflessly of their time during the holidays to bring veterans joy and hope.
“This is both generous and powerful,” Seekins said. “Your kindness and caring continue to make a significant difference to our nation’s heroes and contribute greatly to our successes at the Hampton VA Medical Center and we are proud to have you on our team.”
Volunteer Larry Granish, a 24-year retired Air force veteran, has been providing assistance in the medical facility’s Spinal Cord Injury Unit for five years. Granish, who received an award for 1,000 hours of service, shared that he was both impressed with the event and proud to be a volunteer at the facility.
“It’s in my nature to volunteer,” said Granish, who explained he’s been donating his time for many years and always encourages others to step forward and get involved. “We’re always looking for additional volunteers. But for me, I volunteer because I’m part of the military family and I really enjoy it.”
Sybil Morgan was recognized for her 26 years of service totaling 12,218 hours during the ceremony. Morgan said she began her volunteer work in the Hampton VAMC library but is now lending a hand in the pharmacy. Morgan said that as long as she can drive to the VA, she’ll be volunteering there.
Sandy May and Tony Curling, service managers at the medical center, agreed that they look forward to participating in the event each year and volunteer themselves to welcome attendees and assist staff during the event. They said it’s a great opportunity to thank them in person for their selfless service and give a little something back.
One of those volunteers, Annie Randolph, was recognized for more than 25,000 hours of service in the Voluntary Service and Recreation Therapy office. As she came forward to receive her Jade Crystal Award, she shared her smiles and her gratitude for the honor. Randolph said she’s been volunteering for 33 years because it’s the right thing to do and she loves it.
“She is the epitome of what a volunteer should be,” said Judith Curtis, chief of Voluntary Service and Recreation Therapy, adding that Randolph has been a vital volunteer in the program because she brings years of wisdom and experience through nine volunteer service chiefs. “She has a very loving, caring heart for our Veterans and a wonderful, frank and direct personality. It’s a great combination!”
In closing, Seekins said that volunteer service to the nation’s heroes drives home the important message that Veterans are never forgotten. She said that she speaks for the veteran community when she says “thank you” for all of the ways they have shown ~ and continue to show ~ their commitment and dedication to their service.
“We say that every day is Veterans Day at the VA; and that is true,” said Seekins. “But today, we celebrate and honor all of you for your commitment to service and dedication. Today we celebrate our volunteers ~ who so proudly serve our Veterans daily.”
To join the volunteer team at the Hampton VA Medical Center, call the Voluntary Service office at (757) 728-3124.